Sanitation and international development policy

A few weeks back I wrote to Mary Creagh:


I have had a resident contact me, asking that I do the following:

I would really appreciate it if you could write to Shadow International Development Secretary Mary Creagh and ask her to both make sure sanitation features strongly in your party’s international development policy and openly support a dedicated goal on water and sanitation in the Sustainable Development Goals.

I do not recall seeing any announcement on this from our party, although it is entirely possible that I have missed one.

If you are able to respond I would be grateful.

Recently I got the following response:

Dear Julian,

Thank you for contacting me regarding access to clean and safe sanitation for people in developing countries.

I agree it is vital that the international community do everything possible to help improve access to clean water supplies and sanitation in the developing world and I share your concern that an estimated 2.5 billion people – 1 in 3 people across the globe – still lack access to improved sanitation facilities.

There has been some progress on this in the last two decades and, indeed, the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) to halve the proportion of people without access to improved sources of water was met five years ahead of schedule.

I agree, however, that more needs to be done tackle this extremely serious problem and I know that campaigns by organisations such as WaterAid have been highly effective in drawing attention to this, including World Water Day (22nd March 2014) and World Toilet Day (19th November 2013).

I understand that the Sanitation and Water for All High Level Meeting, which was held on 11th April led to 265 new commitments being made by 44 countries. These will focus on helping improve the use of financial resources, building capacity to deliver water and sanitation services, and coordinating resources in developing countries.

I am also pleased that universal access to water and sanitation currently features in recommendations for the UN’s Post-2015 Development Agenda. Labour will continue to monitor the discussions around the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals closely, and we hope that the final proposals will serve to improve access to clean water and sanitation.

Thank you once again for writing to me and for sharing your views. I can assure you that I will continue to follow this issue closely and press the UK Government play a leading role in helping to improve access to sanitation in the developing world.

Yours sincerely,

Mary Creagh MP

Labour Shadow Secretary of State for Development


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